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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 760539, 7 pages
Research Article

A Glucosamine-Specific Lectin from Green Dragon No. 8 Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) Induced Apoptosis on Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Cells

1State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease for Allergy at Shenzhen University, School of Medicine, Shenzhen University, Nanhai Avenue 3688, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518060, China
2Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, School of Medicine, Shenzhen University, Nanhai Avenue 3688, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518060, China
3School of Biomedical Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lo Kwee Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong

Received 12 March 2015; Revised 6 July 2015; Accepted 7 July 2015

Academic Editor: Nunziatina De Tommasi

Copyright © 2015 Yau Sang Chan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A lectin exhibiting antiproliferative activity on tumor cell lines but devoid of antifungal activity has been purified from Phaseolus vulgaris cv. Green Dragon no. 8 seeds. The lectin was a 60 kDa dimeric protein with two 30 kDa subunits. It was a glucosamine-specific lectin as implied from the inhibitory effect of glucosamine on hemagglutinating activity of the lectin. The steps for isolation of the lectin involved Affi-gel blue gel (affinity gel), Mono Q (anion exchanger), and Superdex 75 column (size exclusion). The lectin was purified 20.8-fold from the crude extract of the beans. The purified lectin showed antiproliferative activity on breast cancer MCF7 cell line and nasopharyngeal cancer HONE1 and CNE2 cell lines, but a low activity on normal skin fibroblast HSF98 cell line. The lectin was shown to induce apoptosis on HONE1 cells, as indicated by increased phosphatidylserine externalization and mitochondrial depolarization. It also blocked HONE1 cell division and kept the cells at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle.